In-demand Downing could be reunited with old boss McClaren at Newcastle
West Ham United’s Stewart Downing is the subject of transfer tussle between Newcastle United, Leicester City and Sunderland, with as little as £7m believed to be enough to land the 30-year-old.
Converted from a winger to a more central attacking player last season under ex-Hammers boss Sam Allardyce, Downing excelled, capitalising on the space he was able to create and making himself a key component of West Ham’s supply line.
Should he move to Newcastle, who are 11/4 with Coral to finish in the Premier League top 10 next campaign, he would link up with former manager at Middlesbrough, Steve McClaren, offering the Magpies a different dimension in attack. However, this would cause considerable controversy with the club where he started his career.
The Tyneside outfit have a warchest of at least £40m to spend this summer and his experience could be pivotal to helping the club challenge for a Europa League place, or a trophy next term.
Leicester, meanwhile, are a club with ambition and a wealthy owner. The Foxes also have a great team spirit, as demonstrated at the end of last season, when they fought their way out of the relegation zone to safety. The signing of Downing, and England international, would help to take them to the next level.
Sunderland, however, are reportedly the favourites to secure his signature and could be an interesting proposition next term under new boss; Dutchman Dick Advocaat. The Black Cats will be hoping to challenge in the top half of the Premier League table in the new campaign.
Having started his career at Middlesbrough, he then secured a move to Aston Villa where he excelled in a side that included Gareth Barry and James Milner. Fantastic form earned him a switch to Liverpool, though he failed to live up to his £20m price tag.
Cutting their losses, the Reds agreed a £5m fee with West Ham, where he has slowly begun to get his career back on track.